I have a problem with perfection, I don’t think that it exists. It’s so illusory, it frightens me. I’m house sitting for a friend and he has this beautiful book, Handcrafted Modern by Leslie Williamson put out by Rizzoli. This book makes me anxious. It is my idea of perfection. Each photo of these home’s interiors are stunning. All things wooden, hand carved and well-placed make me suddenly understand my mother coveting interiors from Better Homes & Gardens. This is my version of the perfect house. And as I flip the pages my eyes tear up with the hope that someday I will live in a weird little wooden house. My favorite is George Nakashima’s home in New Hope, Pennsylvania. On page 41 there is a photo of his kitchen, simple and unostentatious, with a wooden bowl and spoon, and the sink in front of a bright window. Here is what Leslie Williamson has to say about perfection and George Nakashima.
Perfection is supremely uninteresting to me. When I first starting learning about Modernism in college, it was hard to get beyond its stylistic veneer. I saw it as pristine, perfect objects and buildings with clean, stark forms, but rather removed from the reality of daily life. . . I finally saw that there were dimensions and layers to Modernism and what resonated with me were designs that were not simply about the building as object but about people inhabiting a space.
George Nakashima (1905-1990) referred to himself as a woodworker – a humble title for a man with one of the most distinctive voices in twentieth-century furniture design. His work with its raw edges and obvious reverence for the wood which it was made, has a virtuosic quality to it.